Saturday February 25th 2017

“The Signal” (A Doo-Wop Rhapsody) onstage

signal2Highly Recommended **** Don’t say you weren’t told about the Doo-Wop show that was heading to Munster. I reported it to you last month. Well, tonight was the night, and the almost 100% filled theater, had the time of their lives! Theatre At The Center in Munster was the stage that brought the history of Chi-Town music and its Gary Indiana roots, a truly historical experience to its stage. With this special ONE NIGHT ONLY performance, the back of the building has some great history of the music scene (as I reported in the original story).

Tonight I want to talk about what was onstage and ask, “how can we get a show like this to play for more performances, allowing more of Chicago and Indiana to experience what I felt tonight?”

Ninety minutes of music and story in a show that is called “The Signal”. The tale unfolds with Christmas , 1956. Our Narrator, Henry Farag (also the writer and director), an Indiana resident has received  a crystal radio kit (back then, that was what an I-anything might be to a kid today). As he got it to work, he found the signal of one Vivian Carter (Vee-Jay records in Gary), who as it turns out was responsible for not only great Rock N’ Roll, but introduced the Beatles to America. She also was the influence for Berry Gordy (who worked in Chicago at Chess Records) to pick up stakes and grab the talent for a new label-MOTOWN. Mr. Farag became a member of Stormy Weather, one of this country’s best known a cappella group.

He may never have achieved the stardom he had hoped for, but by writing this show and bringing it to the public, he is preserving many of the memories and the history that many are unaware of. This 90 minute show is filled with great music, lots of audience approval and some of the original entertainers still taking to the stage as if this was their opening night. Willie Rogers (of the Soul Stirrers) is amazing. Here is a man in his mid-seventies moving like a 21 year old having his first night on the stage. His energy and his personality are amazing. The ensemble; Wilton Crump, Patrick Pitre, Billy Shelton, Gene Stewart, Adam Turman (plays a mean sax), Linda Walla (the sexy guitar player who also does some vocals) and Sheryl Youngblood (amazing on drums and when she does her vocal solo- the audience becomes entranced)

 

Music like:” Stormy Weather”, “So Much In Love”, “Duke of Earl”, “If I Had A Hammer”, “Zing”, a Four Seasons Tribute with “Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Chain Gang”, “In The Still of The Night”. “Teenager In Love”, “My Girl” and a host of others. The story was nice and I enjoyed learning more of the history, BUT, I do believe the audience wanted more music from this marvelous ensembles. Yes, perhaps they can modify the story a bit to add some more numbers and cut out some of the fluff that means a great deal more to the Farag family, I am sure!

If you do hear that this show is appearing anywhere, and you can fit it in your schedule to do so, I suggest you find a way to do so. If you love music of the good old days and being thoroughly entertained, this will satisfy all those needs! You can also get it on kindle- comments at www.facebook.com/thesignalrhapsody

 

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